Charleston Asbestos Legal Question | Get Expert Guide

Charleston, South Carolina, like many parts of the United States, has a complex history with asbestos. In the past, people widely used asbestos fibers in construction because they believed in their fire-resistant properties. However, we now know that asbestos is highly carcinogenic, causing serious health problems like mesothelioma and lung cancer.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos in North or South Charleston, understanding the legal landscape becomes crucial for seeking compensation and advocating for your rights.

What is Asbestos and Health Risks Associated With Asbestos?

Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, consists of microscopic fibers that, when inhaled, lodge deep within the lungs. Over time, these fibers cause inflammation and damage, leading to severe health issues. This can lead to severe health problems, including:

  • Mesothelioma: A rare and aggressive cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, pleura, or abdomen.
  • Lung cancer: A common and deadly type of cancer that starts in the lungs.
  • Asbestosis: A chronic lung disease caused by scarring of lung tissue from inhaled asbestos fibers.
  • Pleural plaques and thickening: Non-cancerous thickening of the pleura, the membrane lining the lungs, and the chest wall.

These diseases can take decades to develop after asbestos exposure, making it difficult to pinpoint the source and establish a clear connection. However, in Charleston, older buildings, workplaces, and shipbuilding industries extensively used asbestos, making the risk of encountering these hazards significant.

What Can You Do if You Think You’ve Been Exposed?

If you’re worried about asbestos exposure, here are some steps you can take:

  • Talk to your doctor: They can check for signs of asbestos-related illness and recommend next steps.
  • Learn about your options: You might have legal rights to get help with medical bills and other losses.
  • Contact a lawyer specializing in asbestos cases: They can explain your legal options and guide you through the process.

What are the Legal Implications of Asbestos Exposure?

Individuals who have developed related health issues after being exposed to asbestos have the legal right to seek compensation for their injuries. The legal implications of asbestos exposure encompass two main categories: personal injury lawsuits and wrongful death lawsuits.

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: These lawsuits are filed by individuals who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, as a result of asbestos exposure. In these cases, the plaintiff (injured party) seeks compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.
  • Wrongful Death Lawsuits: If a person dies due to an asbestos-related illness, their surviving family members have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit seeks compensation for the loss of income, companionship, and other damages caused by the death of a loved one.
  • Asbestos Trust Funds: These funds were established by companies that manufactured or sold asbestos products. They provide compensation to individuals with asbestos-related diseases, regardless of fault. Qualification for these funds depends on the specific rules and criteria of each trust.

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Legal Issues in Charleston

Charleston, being an old and historic city, has a high number of buildings constructed with asbestos-containing materials. This has led to numerous lawsuits from individuals who have been exposed to asbestos and have developed related health conditions. A study by the Environmental Working Group Action Fund found that Charleston has the highest rate of asbestos-related deaths in the state of South Carolina.

Who can File an Asbestos Lawsuit in Charleston?

Anyone who develops an asbestos-related illness after being exposed to asbestos can file a lawsuit. This right applies to workers exposed to asbestos at their workplace and to individuals exposed to asbestos in other settings, such as their homes or public buildings.

However, it is important to note that each case is unique, and the eligibility to file a lawsuit may vary based on the individual circumstances. It is best to consult an experienced asbestos lawyer to determine your eligibility and other legal options.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Asbestos Lawsuits in Charleston?

In the legal system, the statute of limitations sets the timeframe for filing a lawsuit. In Charleston, the statute of limitations for asbestos lawsuits is three years from the date of diagnosis or discovery of the illness’s link to asbestos exposure. Filing a lawsuit within this time frame is crucial because any delay can result in the dismissal of the case.

Important Things to Remember in Charleston

Here are some things to keep in mind specifically for Charleston:

  • Time limits: You only have three years from the date you discover your illness to file a lawsuit in South Carolina.
  • Shared responsibility: If multiple parties were responsible for your exposure, the law considers how much each party is to blame.
  • Charleston’s history: Due to the widespread use of asbestos in Charleston, proving exposure might be easier than in other areas. However, building a case still requires investigation. Important Things to Remember in Charleston

Final Thoughts

Asbestos exposure is a serious issue that has resulted in many individuals suffering from life-threatening illnesses. If you or a loved one has received a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness, understanding your legal rights and options is important. Consulting with an experienced asbestos lawyer can help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve.

Remember, time is of the essence, so do not delay in seeking legal help for your asbestos case.

FAQs For Charleston Asbestos Legal Question And Answer

1. I think I was exposed to asbestos in Charleston. Do I have a case?

Ans: It depends on several factors, including:

  • When and where you were exposed
  • Whether you developed an asbestos-related illness
  • Whether you can identify the responsible parties

Consulting with an experienced asbestos attorney in Charleston is crucial to assess your situation and legal options.

2. How does “shared liability” work in asbestos cases in South Carolina?

South Carolina follows a modified comparative negligence system. If multiple parties were responsible for exposing you, they may reduce your compensation by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

3. What evidence do I need to prove an asbestos claim in Charleston?

Building a strong asbestos claim requires evidence to support your case. This can include:

  • Medical records confirm your diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease.
  • Proof of your exposure to asbestos, such as employment records, historical building information, or witness testimonies.
  • Evidence demonstrating the responsible party’s knowledge of the dangers of asbestos and their failure to take proper precautions.

4. Where can I find help and resources for asbestos-related issues in Charleston?

Several resources are available to assist you:

  • South Carolina Bar Association: To find a qualified asbestos attorney in your area.
  • Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (MARF): Provides information and support for individuals with mesothelioma.
  • American Lung Association: Offers resources and assistance for people coping with lung diseases.
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC): Provides information on asbestos health risks and regulations.

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